Aptostichus stephencolberti

Aptostichus stephencolberti is a species of trapdoor spider named after the American satirist Stephen Colbert. The spider was discovered on the coastline of California in 2007.

This species can be found on coastal dunes that extend from the Big Sur region to the San Francisco peninsula at Point Lobos and Golden Gate. Compared to the closely related species such as Aptostichus angelinajolieae, Aptostichus stephencolberti is lighter in coloration.  The male holotype and the female paratype both have brownish-yellow colored legs, carapace, and chelicerae, while the abdomen is lighter with dusky stripes. The male individual has six teeth, while the female only have five.

This spider was named after Colbert after he reported on his television series The Colbert Report that Jason Bond, a professor of biology at East Carolina University, named a different species of spider Myrmekiaphila neilyoungi, after the Canadian rock star Neil Young. Colbert was angered by the fact that Bond had not named a spider after him, and began to appeal for a species of animal to be named after him. He claimed that he already had an eagle and a turtle named after him, so there was no reason that another animal couldn’t be named after him as well.

The name Aptostichus stephencolberti was officially announced as the spider named after Colbert on The Colbert Report on August 6, 2008. Due to Colbert pronouncing his surname with a silent “T”, the last “T” in stephencolberti is also silent.

Image Caption: Aptostichus stephencolberti specimens, live photographs. Credit: Jason E. Bond/Wikipedia  (CC BY 3.0)